June 17, 2004
Ayala on Teaching Science
In the latest American Scientist, Francisco J. Ayala -- University Professor and the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine; president of the scientific research society Sigma Xi; and supporter of NCSE -- calls for the improvement of science education in the American public schools.
One of the problems with science education as it exists today, Ayala comments, is "the conviction, common among biblical literalists and other Christian fundamentalists, that certain teachings of science -- concerning the origin of the universe, the living world and humans -- are contrary to biblical texts and the Christian faith."
Firmly rejecting the idea that pseudoscientific "alternatives" to evolution deserve to be aired in the public school science classroom, Ayala argues, "The theory of evolution needs to be taught in the schools because nothing in biology makes sense without it. ... Students need to be properly trained in science in order to improve their chances for gainful employment and to enjoy a meaningful life in a technological world."